When famed author and humorist Mark Twain said, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” he was responding to a rumor that he had passed away while on a trip to London. Such is the case with SEO or search engine optimization which some people have declared dead as well.
One reason why some doomsayers pronounced SEO dead is that they may have failed to notice that SEO, like search engines, are evolving all the time. Unless a marketer keep-ups with the changes, he/she is doomed to see less and less success.
In 2013, Google responded to programmers who were tricking it with keyword-rich text near the bottom of the page and then colorizing text to be the same as backgrounds and also directing thousands of backlinks to purchase backlinks. Google wrote new algorithms to stymie the cheaters and named them after animals.
Google’s success in deterring cheaters produced another challenge. It also meant that Google had to come up with a new way of ranking websites.
This was compounded in 2015 when mobile searches overtook laptops. How many websites were ready for that? Not many.
WHERE’S THE CHANGE?
Today’s customers have neither the patience nor tolerance to zoom in on a site. Websites must be designed to resize and format design and content to conform to the device that’s calling it up. This means four different sizes.
The fact that there is now no one primary source that customers use today to access sites makes it imperative that marketers be as brief but clear as possible with content. In acknowledgment of this, Google introduced mobile-first-indexing in August 2018.
What this meant was that mobile was even more important. Ranking for websites and keyword collection would rest with the mobile market instead of desktops.
96% of Google searches in the 4th quarter of 2017 were from mobile devices according to Merkle’s Digital Marketing Report for Q4 2017. The report also predicted that mobile search will grow at a rate of 15% a year for the indefinite future.
What this means for marketers is that they need to do three things. The first is to assume a 15% annual growth rate for mobile search and ensure that their marketing departments are delivering content that best serves that market. They also need to ensure that their company’s website conforms with whatever device accesses it.
Many of the changes noted above were the cause of rumors of SEO’s death. As noted earlier, the second thing marketers must do is to keep on top of the ever-evolving changes that are occurring in SEO. The ability to adapt quicker than the competition could make a difference in grabbing more market share. Many of the companies that were unaware of the exodus from desktop to mobile searches were caught off-guard. It took them a while to regain any momentum they had built up.
Finally, marketers must continue to track and gauge their SEO efforts. What may work for one type of customer may not be as effective with another with different interests. Be prepared to amend any strategies when necessary.